Sunday, 11 December 2011

Does Morality Require Consistency?

Morality is defined as a code of conducts that one has chosen to follow in one’s life. These rules are largely made upon the culture, religion and acceptable practices amongst the people. Some religions have permanent (cannot-be-changed) rules about the do’s and don’ts, and as for culture, it is often not that binding and pretty subjective to subsequent addition and subtraction of practices over several generations. Perhaps, it is wise to think that the code is largely unique to one individual, because freedom of thoughts and acts entails different men to different set of rules. Karl Marx is an atheist, communist and German man. Therefore it’s logical to deduce that his rules of life are produced from his sets of beliefs, of what it means to be atheist, communist and German. But of course, there are so many sets of beliefs that define a man. One can perhaps take 10 of the most important characteristics that one wants to hold true to. Everyone is subject to his or her own opinion in what is acceptable, and what is not. Thus, it is fair to conclude that, the definition of morality is unique to individuals.

Consistency is defined as the perpetual obligation to follow the code of conducts without resorting to any excuses or loopholes to go around, and bend the rules. For example, John thinks that hurting someone physically is not a moral act. Thus, consistency in doing that requires him to not hurting anybody, in any kind of circumstances, at any time, anywhere in the world.

So, why does being moral require one to be consistent? Morality is like a constitution of a sovereign country; the highest law of which every other laws must follow precedents. Breaking the constitution of a country will bring disarray to the administration, chaos on the street, as humanity requires rules to live in this world. Why is that? Perhaps it is a human nature to need a benchmark where every other act can be compared to. In making a decision, one has to think whether it is right or wrong, acceptable or not, to do so. One cannot live, and just do whatever one wants. Why? Because, perhaps one thinks one needs rules, just like anybody else. So, what if it is more of a peer pressure? That one is lead to believe that one requires rules, as the perception of everyone else needs them as much?

Taking a contrary approach, what if being moral does not require one to be consistent? Perhaps, it will lead one to be in state of confusion but hasn’t humanity been confused since we are born until we are dead? We come into this world, with a clean slate of mind, and infused with information from our predecessors. We were never sure of religion, identity, and question of right or wrong. But over the years, we learn and know even more, our confusion might fade little by little, but will it be gone completely before we die?

One cannot tell with an absolute assurance that one is right, about being right or wrong. That’s where ethics, or the study of moral philosophy comes in.

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